These days, it seems that everyone lives their lives on the internet. While the internet can be a helpful tool for education, work, social interaction and entertainment, its overuse can take a toll on our mental health.
It’s important to be aware of the link between mental health and technology use because it can contribute to serious mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Let’s look closer at the negative effects of technology and how they can contribute to mental illness.
Technology is intended to bring people together, though it often has the opposite effect. A 2017 study in young adults found that people who spent more time on social media were three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who spent less time on social media.
While it’s not exactly clear why this is the case, there are a couple of theories. First, when excessive time is spent on social media, people are missing out on meaningful in-person interactions with others. Also, it’s easy to feel left out when you see other people posting about their experiences.
Bottom line: While some technology use is fine, it shouldn’t take the place of real relationships.
Depression and Anxiety
When people get on social media, they’re often looking for feelings of affirmation, whether they realize it or not.
Think about how many times you end up comparing your life to the lives of others when you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Getting wrapped up in comparisons can cause depression and prevent you from enjoying things in the present moment.
Not to mention, there are negative interactions that can occur online (i.e., cyberbullying) that can also contribute to depression. For every 10 percent rise in negative social media interactions that someone experiences, the risk of depression increases by 20 percent.
The overuse of technology can also lead to anxiety. This is typically seen in people who read too much negative news or research their symptoms online. Some people can become obsessive with this, causing unnecessary anxiety and worry.
Frequent internet use can also disrupt sleep, further taking a toll on mental health. People who struggle with mental health disorders have trouble sleeping to begin with, and the overuse of technology can cause additional sleep problems.
This happens because the bright lights from electronic devices block melatonin production, a hormone that regulates sleep. If you must check email or social media at night, it’s recommended to do so at least 30 minutes before bed.
Learn to Manage Technology Use
The relationship between technology and mental health is complicated. While there are many positive effects of technology, there are many negative ones as well, especially for developing children and adolescents. Since technology is a part of our everyday lives, the best approach is to have a healthy balance, something that CTRLCare can help with.
To learn more about how to develop a healthy relationship with technology, contact CTRLCare today.